Budget Committee ponders $250,000 Sheriff Cars


Budget Committee delays action until after May 4th Primary Election

By: Pat Hunter

The Loudon County Budget Committee met numerous times to go over the proposed FY 10-11 county department budgets. The budget committee is comprised of Budget Chair Mayor Doyle Arp and budget committee commissioners D-1 David Meers, D-5 Harold Duff, D-7 Don Miller. Although Commissioner D-5 Chris Park is part of the budget committee, he has been absent throughout most budget committee meetings.

Aside from the Loudon County Board of Education budget and E-911 budget, one of largest county budgets appears to be the Loudon County Sheriff Department and Jail budget. The local hometown newspaper has managed not to attend one single budget committee meeting so far and was the topic of conversation at two separate budget committee meetings. More about that later.

On April 7th the Loudon County Budget met and Committee Chair Mayor Doyle Arp spoke about receiving a letter from Sheriff Guider regarding his proposed FY 10-11 budget. According to the March 10, 2010 letter, Sheriff Guider was in the process of evaluating the vehicle fleet status and maintenance cost in an effort to determine a possible request for new vehicles. Budget committee commissioner Don Miller asked, any idea when Tim will come in?  No, replied Budget Chair Mayor Doyle Arp.  

The Finance department prepared a maintenance report regarding the Sheriff department's fleet. The budget committee discussed the sheriff�s budget, cost of new vehicles, accessory equipment for new cars and maintenance cost. The state bid price was believed to be about $23,000 per car but did not include the cost of additional equipment.

The discussion strayed after budget committee commissioner Harold Duff spoke about how Sheriff Guider had attended a TEA Party meeting and how he spoke to potential voters about saving the county one quarter of one million dollars, $250,000. He got a lot of mileage out of that, Commissioner Duff told other budget committee members. He spoke about cutting his budget by $250,000. Comm. Duff mentioned that everywhere he went and spoke to voters how the Sheriff would bring up about how he saved Loudon County taxpayers money.



Commissioner Don Miller commented I have to give him (Sheriff) credit; I know its an election year. What was the quarter million cut from, a proposed or hard asked commissioner Duff? There�s a big difference said Commissioner Duff. I'm not going by what he proposed that's a bunch of "political hurrah" explained Commissioner Miller. Last year he didn�t ask for any new vehicles, you have to give him credit, that�s a fact that�s not a proposal added Miller. But his budget didn�t go down $250,000 commented Chairman Mayor Arp as he laughed; that�s true, yeah, yeah, ok, agreed Miller.

If we purchase 10 new cars commented commissioner Meers; it will cost one quarter million dollars added Commissioner Miller ($250,000). Call it whatever you want to, there it is chuckled commissioner Duff referring to the amount Sheriff Guider had alluded to when he spoke at political gatherings.  

Budget Chair Mayor Arp mentioned that when Sheriff Guider had the County sued that he had spoken to the Sheriff about buying less expensive cars for non-emergency purposes but it was like �talking to that desk� they don�t want to hear that, explained Budget Chair Mayor Arp.  

Budget Chair Mayor Arp felt that Commission should take the lead about recommending buying gas efficient vehicles. He gave examples of how Sheriff personnel drove Crown Victoria Interceptors for non-emergency purposes including the jail administrator hand delivering paperwork to the county office building. Crown Victoria�s are not known for good mileage or low maintenance cost as evidenced in the finance director's maintenance report.

At one point, budget committee commissioner David Meers made a motion to buy 10 new sheriff cars. But when other budget committee members realized what Meers had said in his motion, budget committee members scrambled to defer a vote and recommendation.    

The budget committee will wait to take further action on the purchase of 10 new cars for the sheriff department. The same story holds true for making another decision concerning the FY10-11 proposed school budget after the budget committee requested that the school board submit the budget by April 15th. 

The budget committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday May 6th at 5:00 PM and again on May 7th at 11:20 AM at the Loudon County office building. At Thursday's May 6th budget committee meeting, Sherriff Tim Guider emerged from his triumphant victory to speak to budget committee members. Stay tuned for the rest of the story - Part 2 - The Sheriff's Wish List... 

Sheriff Tim Guider's March 2, 2010 letter to the Finance Director and Loudon County Budget Committee.

�The purpose of this letter is to advise your office and the finance department of our current status regarding the 2010-2011 budget request. We are still evaluating our vehicle fleet status and trying to determine the most accurate request in our motor vehicle line in the Sheriff�s Budget. We acknowledge this line as an important line for a couple of reasons, the amount of money disbursed from this line and secondly, the safety of our officers and the objectives of keeping the maintenance cost down for the next year. I have submitted our initial budget not to ask for additional patrol vehicles at this time. Upon completion of this evaluation I will amend my request if needed.

Thank you,

Tim Guider Sheriff.�